I was diagnosed with epilepsy 25 years ago at the age of 13, after having my first tonic clonic seizure in a maths lesson at school
Epilepsy has impacted my life in many ways, from drug changes in hospital to side effects of medication. It’s lead to me having a brain aneurysm, where I hit my head with such impact on concrete, that I had to learn to walk and talk again. I've had half my lung removed due to aspirating due to a seizure and an abscess growing, so again, I have had to learn to do things independently. Last year, I had a seizure and ended up with secondary concussion which took me months to recover from.
Epilepsy has meant me having lots of hospital stays, losing loved ones around me too. The side-effects of some medications have put me in some quite unusual mental states. Doctors have had to intervene when I’ve responded negatively to medications, losing jobs and nearly losing my life.
The past 25 years have all been a rollercoaster, but I have always had the sheer determination to achieve things in life. I ended up running the London Marathon in 2015 for Epilepsy Action. But my biggest achievement is having my son in 2013. When I didn’t think I could have children, he was sprung upon me. Alex is a young carer at just 7 years old. He tells me he has become braver with his mummy when it comes to facing epilepsy. He is always so calm and calls emergency services if he needs to and talks to me and makes sure the area is clear. Alex is joining me to run the 50 miles over February, as he wants to raise money for epilepsy too.
Epilepsy is a life-long condition and people will assume you just have a seizure. But they do not see if you are having partial seizures. Or if the anxiety is so overwhelming you cannot face going out. Or if you have the feeling you may have a seizure and not wake up.
There is always so much to deal with emotionally. Walking has given me focus to get outdoors and raise awareness and money. It’s helped my mental state, especially the talks I have with my son and my friend who joins me. Art for me is another form of therapy. I’ve had amazing support from my local bakery, the Royal Artisan in Waltham Abbey. The owner was looking for local artists and he has kindly displayed my pictures. Art has always been my go-to, to relax and express myself.
My advice to anyone living with epilepsy is trust yourself, trust your own mind. You know your own body. Talk to people about how you really feel inside and do not mask these emotions as these can become insufferable. It’s ok to have bad days; these are just chapters of your life. Never think you cannot achieve anything in life, you can create whatever you want to. Never give up hope, remember to slow down and just be yourself. The negatives can be turned into positives.”